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Is Margaret Atwood a coward? She is artfully elusive in the gender debate

'TERF' is the new 'unfuckable'. Credit: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

'TERF' is the new 'unfuckable'. Credit: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images


March 2, 2022   6 mins

Margaret Atwood never fancied herself a discourse power broker, but we thrust the role on her anyway. The year was 2016; the election of Donald Trump had sparked a brief, blazing feminist backlash that now feels like something out of a fever dream. Self-described “nasty women” in pink knitted hats snarled in furious unison at the neanderthals who put someone like that in office. “Pussy grabs back” became a religion, Margaret Atwood its patron saint: the scribe whose dystopian tale of women subjugated, domesticated and downtrodden now seemed poised to become a reality.

The Handmaid’s Tale describes a futuristic puritan patriarchy in which women have been stripped of their liberties and forced into service as child-bearers for the ruling class. A television adaptation was already in development when Trump was elected, but its arrival in the spring of 2017 felt tailor-made for the moment — and its imagery, especially those blood-red robes with their creepy, face-obscuring bonnets, was too instagrammable to resist. In June that year, the New York Times noted that Handmaid costumes had become de rigueur at protests against everything from Planned Parenthood funding cuts in Washington, D.C. to abortion restrictions in Ohio.

Meanwhile, Atwood was newly hailed as a modern-day Cassandra, one whose warnings we could no longer afford to ignore. As one Guardian columnist wrote, “The world of Offred, though still notionally a fiction, has migrated from creative construct to the realm of the thinkable.”

Atwood, it should be said, never quite bought into the vision of herself as the oracle of the Trump resistance. When pressed, her responses were invariably judicious — “We’re not living in Gilead yet, but there are Gilead-like symptoms going on”, she told one interviewer — though media coverage framed them as anything but. The most striking example of this is her New York Times retrospective on The Handmaid’s Tale, written in March 2017: the headline reads, “Margaret Atwood on What The Handmaid’s Tale Means in the Age of Trump”. The essay doesn’t mention him.

And there were hints, always, that Atwood wasn’t quite as gung-ho for the new feminism as some pretended. In 2016, she was a signatory on a letter demanding accountability in the case of Stephen Galloway, a professor who was accused of sexual assault and fired without due process by the University of British Columbia. (A defamation suit by Galloway is ongoing in the Canadian courts.) Atwood’s 2018 essay about the matter became Twitter’s outrage du jour and caused the website Vox to downgrade Atwood’s status from “feminist icon” to “problematic fave”. Atwood’s response was a bone-dry tweet:

Yet any qualms about Atwood’s ideological purity were eclipsed at the time by her usefulness to the movement. Simply put, people wanted to wear Handmaid’s Tale outfits in front of the Supreme Court more than they wanted to purge the author for being a little too agnostic on #MeToo.

But fast-forward to our present day: The Handmaid’s Tale has long since finished its four-season run on Hulu. The #MeToo movement is yesterday’s news. And that fervour for protecting women’s bodies — from government overreach and groping hands alike — has been increasingly replaced by a base-level discomfort with women’s bodies, not just as a discussion topic, but as a concept. By the time Atwood came under fire again, this time for retweeting an article observing the bizarre retreat of the word “woman” from the public sphere, the cultural tides had turned. The enemy in the Oval Office was gone; the feminist eye of Sauron turned inward.

And for the same movement that once hailed Atwood as a prophet because she wrote so searingly about how women’s bodies and biology become the subject of oppression, now she was vaguely suspicious — for the exact same reason.

Atwood, as usual, is not interested in what you think of her — nor in placing herself into an ideological box that would make her easy to dismiss. Her new book of essays, Burning Questions, is ironically titled: the new feminism is desperate to know Atwood’s stance on gender ideology, but in interviews, Atwood has artfully refused to be pinned down. Those looking for an answer won’t find it here.

Still, it’s hard to imagine that she’s surprised by the turn the feminist movement has taken towards purging those women, and particularly women of a certain age, who won’t toe the line on its uptake of the latest in gender ideology. Insofar as Atwood can predict the future, it’s always been because she pays attention to the past. “I believed two things. (1) That if true believers say they’ll do a thing, when they get the chance they’ll do it. (2) Whoever says “It can’t happen here” is wrong. Anything can happen anywhere, given the right conditions, as history has demonstrated time and time again,” she writes, in the essay titled “Reflections on The Handmaid’s Tale“.

And the social disposability of women who are past childbearing age and hence no longer serve any social purpose (the unspoken subtext: to men) is one of those time-and-time-again themes. From the 19th century medical consensus that menopausal women might as well die off, having outlived their usefulness, to the dearth of roles for women over 40 in Hollywood, to the shared (and oft-written-about) feeling among middle-aged women that they’ve somehow become invisible. And while feminism has long pushed back against the patriarchy that pushes older women into obscurity, it turns out we’re not above engaging in our own little litmus tests for the grande dames who won’t get with the times.

Yesterday’s feminist heroes — the Atwoods, the Rowlings, the second-wavers writ large — are today subject to interrogation about where their loyalties lie. If they don’t pass the test, into the bin they go. The new feminist wields the word “terf” to the same end as the men’s rights activists who deem us “unfuckable”, hence useless: it’s a label designed to deem its wearer irrelevant, out of bounds, voiceless.

Seen from certain angles, there’s something peculiarly optimistic about all this, as if feminism has so thoroughly won the battle for women’s bodily autonomy that it need not be our primary concern. In fact, all this discussion of women and bodies is actually offensive and unnecessary and should no longer take place (or if it must, we should at least have the decency to leave the W-word out of it and say “people with cervixes” instead). There are echoes of the past here, too: in her notoriously negative review of The Handmaid’s Tale for the New York Times in 1986, Mary McCarthy declared the novel too dystopian to be believed, an alternate history of a culture war that had already been thoroughly won. “Even when I try, in the light of these palely lurid pages, to take the Moral Majority seriously, no shiver of recognition ensues”, she wrote.

Today’s insistence that feminism should pivot away from women’s bodies and toward inclusivity and diversity suggests that The Handmaid’s Tale has been deemed an irrelevant and impossible fiction once again — even as Roe v. Wade, the landmark US Supreme Court case that legalised abortion, is facing its most serious threat in decades. One gets the sense of an army wandering off its longtime battlefield in search of a new conflict, a giant MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner floating down to cover the few red-robed protesters still lingering at the front.

Suggested reading
Is Margaret Atwood a coward?

By Mary Harrington

Maybe that pivot is the right choice, or maybe not; as Atwood notes, “There is no such thing as being on the wrong side of history — if history means who’s in political power and who’s not, and who’s in intellectual fashion and who’s not, because history of that kind doesn’t have sides.”

But while we’ll have to wait for the benefit of hindsight before those purged from the movement emerge in the rear-view as either traitors or martyrs, we can consider one thing now: who benefits from this moment of intra-feminist conflict? Who is watching, hungrily, as we tear each other apart?

This is the kind of question Atwood doesn’t ordinarily shy away from answering, unconcerned as she is with which ideas are currently in vogue. Not only that, it’s one she has answered, in the essay titled, “Am I a Bad Feminist?” Written for The Globe and Mail in 2018 after she ran afoul of the #MeToo orthodoxy, it is reproduced in Burning Questions — but with a curious omission: one that seems to illuminate the limits of Atwood’s bravery when it comes to the changing landscape of feminism and the issues that put us at each other’s throats. Four years ago, when the dissident feminist’s topic was the excesses of #MeToo, the last paragraph of this essay included a barn-burner of a line:

“A war among women, as opposed to a war on women, is always pleasing to those who do not wish women well.”

But that was then, and this is now — in a world where the feminist movement is tearing itself apart not over sexual mores, but gender ideology. And in the version of this essay that appears in Atwood’s new book, that final warning has been left out.


Kat Rosenfield is an UnHerd columnist and co-host of the Feminine Chaos podcast. Her latest novel is You Must Remember This.

katrosenfield

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Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
2 years ago

I always found it strange that the kind of people who would bewail the Trump Presidency as the appearance of Gilead were often the same folks who would find no problem with the islamification of the west and the truly horrific treatment of women under that particular death cult. Odd.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Michaels

And that’s because they’ll find any reason to hate the values of the liberal west regardless of logic.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Michaels

Bunch of upper class women pretending they are living the handmaiden’s tale, while being callous and indifferent towards other women who actually are living the handmaiden’s tale.
So envy my younger, more naive and innocently idealistic self, before you found out what people truly are like.

Last edited 2 years ago by Samir Iker
Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

They are now called “pearl clutchers”.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

The feminist movement was from the beginning an ‘upper-class white woman’s movement’ and rather is that today as well. Perhaps if ‘Bunny’ Steinem had agreed to let Betty Friedan insert language about the ‘importance of the family’ and ‘women’s responsibilities to the family’ in the never-passed ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) the movement would have had a real raison d’etre?!

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Thank goodness for them then for giving women (and you) the vote. For enabling many to be educated. For allowing women to be independent. For shining the light on female circumcision. On the list goes.
I found out tonight that Vietnamese women in certain areas have absolutely no standing without a man. Even when their husbands die, they cannot resume a normal life. These things are real while women sit in their Western bubbles and take potshots at ‘feminists’.

Kevin
Kevin
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Michaels

Can you give an example of someone who would both ‘bewail the Trump Presidency as the appearance of Gilead‘ and ‘find no problem with the islamification of the west‘?
I’ve never met such a person. Perhaps we move in different circles.

Ian Gribbin
Ian Gribbin
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

Madonna
most of Hollywood and the luvvie set


Kevin
Kevin
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Gribbin

When I search for “madonna and islam” I find a couple of articles from 9 years ago saying that she is studying the Koran. There is nothing about her opinion on the islamification of the west. I doubt that most of Hollywood is in favour of the islamification of the west.
I think you have made this up.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

Lily Allen who went with a camera team to Calais migrant camp and was filmed weeping because all the Muslim refugees were delayed coming to the UK.
She also insulted the victims of the Rotherham abuse gangs

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Gribbin

The girl pop singer (her dad’s a comedian / actor) who went on a mission to the Calais migrant camp and had herself filmed weeping because the residents were held up by the racist UK government .

Last edited 2 years ago by Alan Osband
Mirax Path
Mirax Path
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

Nearly everyone in the Women’s March organised by Linda Sarsour.

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

Any Guardian reader.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

“A war among women, as opposed to a war on women, is always pleasing to those who do not wish women well.”
Genius comment.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago

And utterly ignorant of the realities of real life.
My small team hired a few young female grads, all part of the brave new world of diversity (which somehow doesn’t matter when it’s teaching, HR or media)
The way they were targeted for obliteration by the senior female managers (all of whom habitually spouted familiar feminist lines otherwise) was mind boggling. And in stark contrast to how those young ladies were treated by the supposedly patriarchal males in the same team.

I know, anecdotal and all that,but the sisterhood is not all that it’s cracked up to be. One main conclusion was, If I had to guide my daughter, would always want her to go into a profession like IT or Engineering.

Last edited 2 years ago by Samir Iker
Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Those fields certainly pay better.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
2 years ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

I think telling women they should go into engineering because it pays better or to win some kind of war on behalf of all women, is a bit counterproductive.

Girls should join engineering because it’s interesting, hands on work and the vast majority of guys really welcome having female faces.

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I believe you and I are in the same profession – software development.
I’m with you on the wish that more women would choose it as a career.
I can count the number of female developers I’ve worked with using the fingers of one hand 🙁

Last edited 2 years ago by Philip Stott
Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

The vast majority of guys really welcome having females anywhere!

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Heh. Working in said industry, I’ve always found the allegation that men in IT don’t want women involved utterly mind boggling.
Although I am reminded of the various women’s movement marches with placards proclaiming “I need gender studies because there aren’t enough women in engineering,” to oddly contain the actual solution to their problem. Study engineering instead; better pay, more productive, and just maybe you’ll at least contribute to solving a real-world problem or two.

Ian Gribbin
Ian Gribbin
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I have come to realise that women despise each other more than men despise them. That’s where true misogyny is today.

It gets worse because the population is aging since the % of jealous older women with fading looks and HRT patches hanging off them far outnumber younger girls.

Indeed we can see just how dangerous this is for cultural good governance: this demographic are clearly responsible for the terrible covid panic that has practically bankrupted the state.

David Batlle
David Batlle
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Feminism is no match for evolutionary biology, that’s why.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Remember when we were schooled by feminists that more women in the work place would make it ‘friendlier’, ‘more collegial’ etc? That turned out to be a crock. No matter, liberal-wokedom & their gender-floggers today continues to deny many aspects of ‘human nature’. Clearly, they adore pushing boulders uphill.

David Batlle
David Batlle
2 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

My wife is a teacher and works around mostly women. She can’t stand most of them, says the few men there are a breath of fresh air.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

If it’s an article on woman’s rights, enter Samir Iker on cue. He does not like to disappoint. Let me let you into a secret
. It is not all about the ‘sisterhood’ in the workplace
 we don’t give preference to women if they don’t perform. It is called professionalism.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
2 years ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

“My small team hired a few young female grads, all part of the brave new world of diversity (which somehow doesn’t matter when it’s teaching, HR or media)
The way they were targeted for obliteration by the senior female managers (all of whom habitually spouted familiar feminist lines otherwise) was mind boggling.”

For those of us who have worked in offices during their lives, this comes as no surprise at all. I have witnessed the same behaviour more than once.

Ralph Hanke
Ralph Hanke
2 years ago

I often come back to something I wrote and put away for a couple of days, months, or years. I then drop parts of it or change sentences and paragraphs because they do not say what I thought, intended, or had in mind. And sometimes I toss it—like a couple of my undergrad essays.
Writing is always fluid that way. As a fellow grad student once put it—perhaps quoting or paraphrasing: how do I know what I think until I read what I say?
Read that sentence to yourself over and over again—as any good self-editing writer would do—and you will hear and see it is internally inconsistent and incoherent. Although there is certainly a spark of intriguing “truthiness” to it, isn’t there?
I believe that is why she dropped it. It probably does not express what she has in mind or is in the process of formulating. Maybe she dropped it with the view of expressing that particular idea elsewhere. Only she knows. Or perhaps The Shadow.
No more, no less.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
2 years ago

For those of us who wish human beings well, I can’t escape from the fact that the author, Atwood and her pronoun-obsessed critics all share one thing in common: they eschew basic principles of liberalism in pursuit of identity politics.
This, more than the baseless attacks on Atwood, is the truly depressing feature of the current debate. There are simply not enough second wave feminists willing to look at the monster they have created, to step back, and to realise they should have embraced for more universal principles to begin with.
And that is where the author has it wrong: This is not a battle of Sauron versus the Free Peoples of Middle Earth. This is a squabble between two rival tribes of orcs.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Your last sentence sums it up. Get more than two women together (without men) and there’s going to be a a war of the behind the back, smiling through acid comments, exchanged eye roll variety. Mixed company tempers the worst in both sexes, I find.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
2 years ago

Agree – last sentence – ace.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Love that last sentence.

Since we all now have more serious things to worry about, dare we hope these irrelevant people, with their silly obsessions, will fade into the background?

Happy for them to continue their infantile arguments, but wish they’d stop bothering the rest of us.

J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago

Atwood isn’t a coward. She’s lived long enough to recognize a minefield when she sees one.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Meaning she’s a coward.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

She is wise and not a coward. The importance is in what she doesn’t say, not in what she says.
She is an old woman and a public figure
. I’m sure she has no appetite in her final years to engage in an exhausting, vicious culture war.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 years ago

The minefield was always there. Its just a part of the progressive’s goal to divide and conquer.
Men and women don’t actually work without each other. You wouldn’t know that listening to some people.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Nah, she’s done her bit. Why bother anymore to confront the stupid when it’s the next generation’s turn?

Carol Hayden
Carol Hayden
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

I agree. There comes a point when you probably feel that. Germaine Greer was one of her generation who said some years ago that she was too old get further involved in the tedious but vicious trans debate.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Carol Hayden

I wish Biden had that wisdom.

Ian Gribbin
Ian Gribbin
2 years ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Correct!

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Not a coward, just careful with words (she earns a living by writing after all) and definitions in debates, in particular.
From GoodReads Popular Answered Questions :
Do you consider yourself a feminist? How much do you think society would change if everyone believed in gender equality?
“Margaret Atwood Hello: I never say I’m an “ist” of any kind unless I know how the other person is defining it (Am I against lipstick, etc.) but in general: I believe women are full human beings (radical, I realize). And that laws should reflect this. However, men and women are not “equal” if “equal” means “exactly the same.” Our many puzzlements and indeed unhappinesses come from trying to figure out what the differences really mean, or should mean, or should not mean. Last I looked, people were still trying. And yes, it has something to do with standard of living and available food supply. When times are better and women have jobs, their status goes up.”

As far as the gender debate is concerned it seems to me that at least half the confusion and muddle resides in the absence of any generally agreed definitions or understanding of the differences between sex, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity and how this 4 item cocktail is mixed in any one individual.

Last edited 2 years ago by Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
David Batlle
David Batlle
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Atwood will take on “the patriarchy”, but she won’t take on the Church of Woke.” That speaks volumes On so many levels.

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
2 years ago

Thank You!
I was kicked out of the Texas Handmaids for refusing to subscribe to gender ideology (it didn’t matter that I have a son who’s a trans man). This brilliant group of activists managed to keep Texas safe from the phrase “pregnant women” while overseeing the de facto repeal of Roe v Wade in their state.
There is no “feminist” movement anymore, and there hasn’t been since the 1970’s/80’s.
Only Second Wave feminists made any tangible improvements in women’s lives (yes, Black women’s lives, too!) but after the amazing Second Wave, new “waves” of “feminism” have been coopted by opportunistic little girls.
Academics and journalists have made careers for themselves by claiming to be “feminist” while actively undermining the gains made by the actual feminist movement (domestic violence shelters, rape crisis shelters, tougher laws against domestic and sexual violence, Roe v Wade, Title IX, Title X, to name only a few).
The new woman-hating “feminism” despises older women, because older women are and always have been, infinitely braver when it comes to challenging male authority and shrugging off male approval.
Compared to women over 40, young women are simpering cowards (I have been a young woman, and I know this to be true). The true test of a “feminist” movement is how it treats older women, and the current “feminist” movement fails spectacularly.
I don’t think Margaret Atwood is a coward, I just think she can’t be bothered with younger women and what they think of her. Atwood does not like or respect young women (read her books – it’s very clear) probably because she has seen the way they tend to side with men against women like herself.
The current “feminist” movement is a joke, and few people outside of media and academia take any of its premises seriously.
I can promise you that most older women don’t.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Interesting points. With so many divergent “movements” out there, I wonder what actual movement will take place?

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 years ago
Reply to  Warren T

When things move apart rapdily in so many directions, it could be called an explosion. That might be an accurate description of where things are moving here.

Christiane Dauphinais
Christiane Dauphinais
2 years ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Excellently put.

D Ward
D Ward
2 years ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

A son who’s a tr@ns-man? Genuine question- how does that work?

Edit: I have just read your explanation on the other thread (the Andrew Doyle one) – thank you.

Last edited 2 years ago by D Ward
Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  D Ward

I’m no expert, by any stretch, but my understanding is that using the prefix ”trans” means that one’s sex at birth was the opposite. So, her son the trans man was her daughter at birth, no?

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
2 years ago

I won’t call anyone “cowardly” for deciding not to incur the wrath of “the feminist eye of Sauron” (I love that phrase.) Being countercultural is hard. Standing up to a mob is dangerous and hard. Most of us eschew doing either.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
2 years ago

‘And while feminism has long pushed back against the patriarchy that pushes older women into obscurity..’

A: there is no ‘Patriarchy’
B: it’s worse than that – men don’t care. In fact it’s worse than THAT: we don’t even think about you most of the time

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
2 years ago

‘who benefits from this moment of intra-feminist conflict? Who is watching, hungrily, as we tear each other apart?

No one is watching anywhere, ever.

David Batlle
David Batlle
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Conservatives, male and female, are watching and laughing.

Kat L
Kat L
2 years ago
Reply to  David Batlle

Yes I confess as a recovering feminist I am watching and laughing


Ian Gribbin
Ian Gribbin
2 years ago

How is Atwood’s “novel” is on the UK school curriculum even. How on earth did that happen? The poor quality prose is matched by the infantile plot. I never finished the entire thing.

Feminism got what it wanted by the 1980s – a level playing field. But by 2000 when it had become apparent that despite all the changes it still hadn’t achieved the results feminists desired, they had to tilt the playing field itself far in their favour.

Every day I see some ghastly inequity reported in the media – where one can confidently say “yep, feminism ruined that”

I wish we could cure women of their feminist delusions. It is now a cancer of sorts: but I bet we cure the real thing faster than feminism.

Alan Tonkyn
Alan Tonkyn
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Gribbin

In answer to your opening question: mediocre books get on school and university curricula these days because their subject matter is seen as fashionable and ‘relevant’, rather than because they are actually well-written. The Stacey Halls novel ‘The Foundling’ is an example of a fairly badly written novel which has nonetheless been lauded, probably because of the themes it deals with.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago

I’ll always give anything a go culturally partly out of curiosity and partly to challenge myself. But I couldn’t go beyond a single episode of Handmaids Tale.
I did read the book when it came out, as part of the sci-fi thought-exercise dystopia genre, so I agree with Mary McCarthy’s review. Never expected the crazies to run with it as a measure of reality though
..

R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago

I read her book in the school library and thought it was mediocre. I was in my obsessed with dystopian fiction phase at 12 of so and there was dozens of better books in that genre in that library alone, particularly from Britain and Russia. People will latch on to anything these days.

Helen Goethals
Helen Goethals
2 years ago

“My body, my choice” covers every human predicament and every stage of feminism and so precludes quarrels between generations which naturally have their own immediate concerns. My own is that this principle, absolute as all principles should ultimately be, did not make feminists as a group sympathetic to the unvaccinated. An important alliance was lost there.

Last edited 2 years ago by Helen Goethals
Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Helen Goethals

It was quiet disconcerting to witness that deplorable hypocrisy.

Christiane Dauphinais
Christiane Dauphinais
2 years ago
Reply to  Warren T

It was indeed.

David Batlle
David Batlle
2 years ago
Reply to  Helen Goethals

My body my choice, but not for vaccines.

Fredrick Urbanelli
Fredrick Urbanelli
2 years ago

Although I’m not privy to Margaret Atwood’s most private thoughts, I believe that her reluctance to take on the role of leader of the vanguard of feminism is a result of so many reading her work far too narrowly. So narrowly, in fact, that for much of the public, “A Handmaid’s Tale” was her most important achievement. Though sexual politics and female identity are themes that she touches on throughout her work, they are only a small part of her literary legacy. It goes so much further than this one admittedly popular and influential book. It’s certainly not her best work. Not even close. Her career has been so varied, her output so prodigious and brilliant, and yet so much attention is lavished on a single work. Her novels spanning 2000-2010 ( The Blind Assasin, Oryx and Crake, Year of the Flood and MaddAdam) are alone worthy of a Nobel Prize. Yet feminists who disapprove of some of her pronouncements and her percieved lack of fervor for The Cause have campaigned AGAINST her candidacy for the Prize. What an injustice.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago

I’m getting sick of seeing the word, Trump, used by so many “journalists” in order get eyeballs. How quickly we forget that, against apoplectic claims, Trump did NOT usher in a new era of woman-hating culture, an economic collapse NOR WWIII, which might now be happening under the current peacemaker-in-chief. Perhaps the Nobelistas should start engraving the trophy in anticipation?

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 years ago

The answer is yes. There’s a reason why there are stories about genies and bottles.

Last edited 2 years ago by Bret Larson
AC Harper
AC Harper
2 years ago

You have to be very brave nowadays to challenge activist monomania. But if you believe that the Empress has no clothes you may decide that you can sit out the latest fashion.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
2 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Is that brave in the same sense that it is brave to sit waiting for the arrival of Russian heavy artillery under orders to blow your city to bits? Just asking.

Al M
Al M
2 years ago

“ the men’s rights activists who deem us “unpluckable””

Which men’s rights activists? The only notable use of that term that I can recall is attributed to Berlusconi. Hardly a men’s rights activist; but you could say that his life at least appears to be fun, I suppose.

Last edited 2 years ago by Al M
David Batlle
David Batlle
2 years ago

There is no such thing as principle. All the things the other guys do that you find horrific, you would condone, explain away, or ignore if your guys did it.

“My body my choice”, but not for vaccines is a pretty stark example.

This is a lesson I learned late in life, but I’ve seen it demonstrated over and over again. The only principle that matters is your agenda.

Last edited 2 years ago by David Batlle
Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
2 years ago

The feminist movement lost the plot in the late 1970’s when it became professionalized and corporatized…..

David Batlle
David Batlle
2 years ago

Atwood will take on with a fury “the Patriarchy”. But she will not even look sideways at the Church of Woke for fear of what they would do to her. That speaks volumes on so many levels.

Last edited 2 years ago by David Batlle
Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 years ago

I prefer straight aggression but sure, every society that exists implies aggression.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

Well, that rebuttal didn’t fare well.

Andrzej Wasniewski
Andrzej Wasniewski
2 years ago

I remember during the first year of Trump presidency hysterical, comfortable, probably making some good money, all white by the way, women parading in those idiotic coffee filters on their heads pretending to be the characters from the Attwood’s book and of course the victims of gross oppression. And they were taking themselves very seriously, it would be hilarious except it was just demonstrating complete decline of their cognitive capacity. .

N T
N T
2 years ago

Off-topic is the way that HT seems like it might become a thing in PRC. The rhetoric regarding childbearing and obligation is eyebrow-raising.
I can’t believe that Atwood’s or Rowling’s opinions on any issue are even a topic of discussion. Do you care what athletes or models think? You don’t right? Is Charles Barkley a role model?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago
Reply to  N T

It’s not so much their opinions, but the reactions to their opinions.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
2 years ago
Reply to  N T

The vaccination response to the pandemic, as in, it may be your body, but this is good for society, certainly points to such an eventuality.

Last edited 2 years ago by Bret Larson
Al M
Al M
2 years ago
Reply to  N T

Depends on the question, the context and the level of knowledge the individual has. I’m willing to listen to the opinions of female athletes who lose out to trans competitors, for example.